KINGSTON — The Kingston Community Swimming Pool will be bigger and hopefully better when it opens this summer thanks to a $1.2 million refurbishing project.
The project was made possible by a $700,000 Local Share Account grant.
The pool will be reconstructed and resurfaced and a jumbo twister water slide, modernized diving boards and a children’s wading pool will be added.
Paul Keating, Kingston administrator, said the project went beyond the construction of improved recreational facilities.
Keating — with two children, Jack, 8, and Nora, 6 — said the pool provides a variety of memories to area residents.
Rick Rutter, a longtime resident of Kingston, now living in New Hampshire, agrees.
He said the pool provided his family with a safe spot for summer fun.
“(I) spent many afternoons with the kids there,” he said. “Some of them learned to swim there, and for a couple the allure of the high dive emboldened them to attempt to pass the swim test.”
Keating, who has served as administrator of the borough for 20 years, said the pool has been a community staple since it opened in 1965.
Mollie Phillips said she remembers her father, Frank O’Connell, then a member of borough council, organizing a football game between Kingston High School and Central Catholic to raise money for the original pool.
“Although the pool has consistently been maintained, this is the first time it has had a complete makeover, and we are very excited about it,” Keating said.
Keating credited the Kingston Borough Authority with overseeing the pool activities for many years.
The municipality voted to take over day-to-day operations of the pool last year.
“With the pool having expanded, overseeing its activities, even during the summer months, was becoming a full-time job,” he said.
According to Keating, over $100,000 was spent on a state-of-the-art security system, which can be monitored by the borough’s police department, even from its patrol cars.
“Unfortunately, we did experience significant vandalism last year,” he said. “And we don’t want that to happen again.”
Keating said the borough did implement cost-saving measures, utilizing borough employees for concrete work and grading, which he estimated saved the borough about $100,000.
West Pittston also provided equipment available after it closed its pool several years ago.
For that reason, he said, West Pittston residents will be able to obtain memberships to the pool at the price available to Kingston residents.
Keating said he is especially proud that the borough, with just over 13,000 residents, can provide recreational opportunities, including the pool, the Kingston Recreation Center and seven outdoor parks and playgrounds.
Keating said he looks forward to a second phase of the project, which will address the concession stand and the pool’s offices. He anticipates the second phase to begin in one to two years.
Reach Geri Gibbons at 570-991-6391 or on Twitter @TLggibbons